Kazunori and Hatsuko Ukigawa
The 1979 marriage of two computer programmers from remote Ehime University in Southern Japan has transformed the world of business and personal computing across Asia after four decades – but this legendary, visionary couple aren’t finished yet.
Kazunori and Hatsuko Ukigawa met as classmates at Ehime University on the island of Shikoku. Both were studying electrical engineering and both were focused on computer programming.Both graduated in 1973 and they were married in 1975.
Their shared interest in bringing the Japanese language fully into the digital revolution resulted in their first major company, which was the first to link the kanji characters prevalent across Japan and China to a Western keyboard system. Their company was the first in Asia to introduce a complete word processing system that relied on the keyboard insertion of kanji characters.
Kazunori Ukigawa was also instrumental as a senior consultant to Sun Corporation in the introduction of much of the open-source code that other programmers used to create the very first user applications targeting the languages of Asia. This brilliant coding lives on today in many of the most popular stroke-based text programs that most Japanese, Chinese and Koreans use on their mobile phones.
It is easy to discount the importance of the innovations first introduced by the Ukigawas. For the first time, Asians were able to fully participate in the computer and Internet revolutions while using their own language and kanji character sets, transforming and elevating business practices, productivity and process controls to emerging global standards.
In 2009, Kazunori and Hatsuke formed a new company, MetaMoJi Corporation that is specifically focused on providing stroke-based business productivity and work-share connectivity not just to Asian users, but to the world.
MetaMoJi is quickly introducing a new wave of global software innovation by turning digital mobile devices into “smart paper” with a revolutionary set of products including 7Notes, Note Anytime, and the Su-Pen stylus.
The vision of Kazunori and Hatsuko Ukigawa is to fundamentally transform computer interaction into a much more natural experience that goes beyond the traditional QWERTY keyboard – bridging paper and pixels in a process as easy as jotting down a note in a notebook or sketching and amending drawing with pencil and paper.
The software that both of these computer industry legends have now developed at MetaMoJi is unique in its ease of smoothly handling and processing handwriting and hand-marked input. Each stroke of a finger or stylus is recorded in high-resolution vector graphic imaging – making every part of a letter, sentence or drawing a work of personal art and artistry.
Kazunori and Hatsuko Ukigawa are now committed to breaking down devices and users through revolutionary applications on smartphones and tablet devices – regardless of the systems, formats or languages that business processes and personal communication require. It is the comfort of an analog experience combined with the convenience and seamless transparency of digital technology that can be e-mailed, printed, archived or shared – in real time.